Have you heard the news? There is a new Mass translation coming to a parish near you this Advent. Websites abound with the new translations, descriptions and rationale behind the changes. I’ve seen cheat sheets for purchase and recently downloaded a new iPhone app, “The New Mass” for explanation on the go. We've recently reviewed the Ascension Press booklet, "Guide to the New Translation."
Logically, I completely understand why we have a new English translation. In fact, I was surprised to learn that until now English-speaking countries differ in their Mass translations. I wrongly assumed the words of the Mass were the same across the English-speaking world.
I love the idea that this new translation recaptures the beauty and accuracy of the original Latin Mass translation. For those who remember the Latin Mass from pre-Vatican II, you might recognize the reflection of the Latin in the new English translation. Because the change in the Mass over four decades ago was much more substantial than now, this new translation might not seem as shocking.
For us post Vatican II babies, implementing this new translation might be more difficult. In my life, the words to the Mass have remained relatively unchanged. The prayers and responses are etched in my brain since childhood.
Reading through the coming changes, I find myself apprehensive about saying “And With Your Spirit” rather than “And Also With You.” And the word “consubstantial” now appears in the Nicene Creed? I needed a dictionary to figure out that it means, “of the same substance” and a theologian to discover it more accurately describes the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
My eyes well up with tears at every Mass when I am called upon to say these words, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” It is a humble, personal moment before God when I ask for His grace so I can receive Him in the Eucharist. These precious words are replaced in the new translation with a prayer quoting the centurion in Mt 8:8 when he asks Jesus to heal his servant. Reading through the new Mass translation I find myself praying, asking God to aid me in connecting with the new words. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” This new phrasing is to remind us to emulate the centurion's humility and faith before God.
We have several months to learn, understand, and become comfortable with the changes coming in the new Mass translation. I am confident that God has blessed this new translation and the new words will bring me closer to God through the Mass in ways I cannot predict. It is my prayer that we embrace the new Roman Missal with enthusiasm, to learn more about the Mass and be drawn closer to Christ during this time of implementation.
For more details, explanations and examples on the translation visit the USCCB site – Roman Missal, or Our Sunday Visitor’s The Roman Missal Blog.